Swiss rider Michael Albasini of HTC-Highroad scored his first victory in a Grand Tour on Friday, winning the 13th stage of the Vuelta a Espaa in a sprint finish. The 30-year-old covered the 158.2 km ride from Sarria to Ponferrada in 4:19:39, edging out Italy’s Eros Capecchi of Liquigas and Spain’s Daniel Moreno of Katusha at the finish line. He was part of a large group of over 20 riders that got away early in the stage, which included three mountain passes.
“I am so happy to win this stage, I did the right moves. I arrived really optimistic at the finish line because I knew I am fast but it cost me a lot of energy,” he said.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, of Team Sky, kept the overall leader’s red jersey for the third straight day. He is the first rider in this year’s race to hold the lead for more then two days. Wiggins, a triple Olympic gold medallist, is four seconds ahead of the winner of the Vuelta last year, Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas, and seven seconds ahead of compatriot and teammate Christopher Froome.
The 31-year-old Wiggins turned professional in 2001 but has only prioritised road over track since the 2008 Olympics. He came fourth in the Tour de France two years ago but crashed out injured from this year’s edition. The Tour continues on Saturday with a 172.8-km run from Astorga to La Farrapona which ends in a long climb that is a good opportunity for climbers to get ahead in the standings. It wraps up in Madrid on September 11.
Vuelta a Espaa Stage 13
1. Michael Albasini (Swi) HTC-Highroad 4:19:39
2. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale @ s.t.
3. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha
4. David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Geox-TMC
5. Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale
6. Oliver Zaugg (Swi) Leopard Trek
7. Angel Madrazo Ruiz (Spa) Movistar
8. David Blanco Rodriguez (Spa) Geox-TMC
9. Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
10. Marc De Maar (AHo) Quickstep
General Classification After Stage 13
1. Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky 51:14:59
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale @ .04
3. Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky @ .07
4. Fredrik Kessiakoff (Swe) Astana @ .09
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Leopard Trek @ .19
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank @ .36
7. Maxime Monfort (Bel) Leopard Trek @ 1:04
8. Juan Jose Cobo Acebo (Spa) Geox-TMC @ 1:27
9. Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha @ 1:52
10. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack @ 1:53